For 2-3 weeks, the dining hall is all that you want it to be and more. Emphasis on the more. There’s endless pizza, pasta, meat-carving stations (prime rib on a Tuesday night? Roast chicken too? Yes and yes!), rows of salad bar options, a cereal station, soft serve machines, trays of cookies, cakes and brownies, and — cue the “Aaaaah” moment, as if the heavens are parting and a divine light is shining through the cafeteria, directly onto — The Belgian Waffle Maker. And if you’re lucky, that waffle maker imprints your university’s logo ON THE WAFFLE.
It’s worth calling home for. I did. (That’s not a joke. I actually did that.)
But, after a few weeks, the menu starts repeating, and the shriek-inducing glee of endless amounts of food loses its luster. Suddenly, you’re kind of sick of it. All of it.
And in that moment, you need cooking skills. Er, skillz. Because everyone likes a girl or guy with skillz.
Without further ado…COOK THESE AND YOU’LL NEVER GO HUNGRY AGAIN!*
BREAKFAST: Overnight Oats with Honey & Mixed Fruit
With just some water, yogurt, honey and fruit of your choice (I prefer blueberries, but bananas and melted peanut butter are a close second), you can have a refreshing no-cook oatmeal breakfast that’s way better than that mushy cardboard you’ll taste in the hall.
Tip: Milk is optional. You can substitute it with an equal amount of water and it’ll taste just fine.
Stove top? Who needs a stove top when you can cook the Johnny Depp way (circa Benny & Joon, that is)? It’s a handy trick for those days when (a) the dining hall is closed (prospective student tour group — WHAT?!), (b) you’re too lazy to walk outside, (c) you don’t want to turn on a stove or (d) all of the above.
Okay, so you’ll need an oven for these, but trust me, it’s worth hunting down a kitchen (or using that dank one at the end of your hall, dorm dwellers) for this. They’re not even fried! Not even fried, I tell you, and you don’t miss it. I know, I know. I gasped when I tried ’em.
DINNER: Baked Chicken
No grill, no mess, no guilt. (And sorry, no finished food photo. If your chicken looks anything like the photo above, you’re doing it wrong. Keep baking it until it’s no longer translucent or pink. At all. Ain’t nobody got time for food poisoning.
DESSERT: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
You’ve got to make friends somehow, and this is a surefire way to fast track yourself to besties-for-liiiife with, well, anyone. Anyone who likes chocolate and carbs. And honestly, can you really trust someone who doesn’t appreciate chocolate? (We’ll give you a pass on carbs. In fact, for our gluten-free friends, we bring you this surprisingly moist chocolate chipper.)
*That might be hyperbole.